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April 14, 2010    

Euro zone industrial production exceeds expectations in February

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by Kay Murchie

Industrial production in the euro zone exceeded expectations again in February, posting growth of 0.9% from January, while on an annual basis, output rose 4.1% - the biggest rise since April 2008.

The figures were a surprise since economists had predicted a monthly gain of 0.2% and an annual rise of 2.9%, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey last week.

The figures are likely to boost hopes that the euro zone economy grew in the first three months of 2010 after it stagnated in the final three months of 2009.

However, the figures are unlikely to affect the decisions of the European Central Bank, which last week elected to keep interest rates on hold at the historic low of 1% for the eleventh consecutive month, as widely expected.

Interest rates are expected to remain on hold until at least 2011, as a result of uneven growth and low inflation, according to analysts.

Meanwhile, European Union statistics office, Eurostat, said production in February was fuelled by a surge in intermediate and capital goods, which rose 1.5% and 0.9% month-on-month respectively.

Eurostat said production of durable consumer goods (which includes items such as cars, furniture and appliances) fell 0.6% and non durable goods dipped 0.2%.

Finally Eurostat said Germany, which is the euro zone’s largest economy, saw industrial production increase by 6.8%, France saw an annual rise of 3.2%, while Greece and Spain, saw annual falls of 10.4% and 1.9% respectively.

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